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State Democrats pressing Republicans to suspend Indiana gas taxes for the summer

Gas prices on May 16, 2022
Posted at 7:04 AM, May 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-17 07:04:21-04

INDIANAPOLIS — During the last legislative session, Democrats proposed suspending the state gas tax as prices started to rise in connection with the war in Ukraine.

Republicans did not support those efforts instead, passing House Enrolled Act 1002 which covered various tax matters that Republicans say will help Hoosiers.

Now, with Indiana forecasted to have a budget surplus of $6.1 million, Democrats once again are calling on Republicans to utilize their Super Majority to suspend the gas taxes through the summer.

"To have $6 billion and to not do anything meaningful for the people is unacceptable," State Rep. Mitch Gore, D-Indianapolis, said.

"It's almost a slap in the face of tax payers when they're feeling this pain every single day at the pump," State Rep. Maureen Bauer, D-South Bend, said.

Bauer and Gore are pushing for the Indiana General Assembly to take up this issue when lawmakers reconvene next for what's called a Technical Correction Day.

This day is when legislators typically overturn governor vetoes. State House and State Senate Republicans have both said they'll look at overturning Gov. Eric Holcomb's veto on HEA 1041 which bans transgender girls from playing in K-12 sports. However, they have not said if they'll use the day to pass any other laws like suspending gas taxes.

Gore said they're allowed to do that.

If the state's taxes on gas were suspended, gas would drop 56 cents based on current numbers from the Department of Revenue.

That number comes from the 32 cent excise tax on gas and the 24 cent sales tax. The latter just went up this month because it's based on 7% of the average between March 16 and April 15 which was $3.44

WRTV reached out to Holcomb's Office, along with Statehouse Republicans, to see if they'll take up the Democratic proposal next week.

We received the following statement from Holcomb:

For an Indiana governor to suspend the gas tax through a declaration of an energy emergency, the state must have an existing or projected energy shortfall that would jeopardize life, health and property. We have not met that threshold. INDOT and the Office of Energy Development have both confirmed that we do not have a shortage or a projected shortage. The states that have suspended the gas tax thus far have done so through the legislature.- Governor Eric J. Holcomb

Senate Republicans did not have a comment. House Republicans are aware of our questions, but did not get back to us with an answer.

Bauer and Gore saod legislators have a chance to help alleviate some of the pressure Hoosiers are feeling. They stress this isn't a partisan issue.

"Democrats and Republicans fill up their gas tank. There are Republican states that have suspended their gas tax," Gore said. "There are some states where Republicans have proposed suspending the tax and Democrats have said no. To those Democrats I say that's wrong. We have to give people some relief."

Gore will be handing out $15 gift cards at a gas station in his district on Tuesday to simulate how much Hoosiers could save each time they fill up if Republican leaders decided to suspend the state gas taxes.

Starting at 1 p.m., he'll be at Speedway Gas Station located at 7940 Brookville Road.